Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Why can't they just forgive and go back to the way things were?" So many of us {myself included at times} have not understood what forgiveness is and how it works with reconciliation. Forgiveness and reconciliation are NOT the same thing, however, they are closely related. So what are the differences? As Christians, are we required to forgive and then reconcile?

There is one huge difference between the two: Forgiveness only requires one person. Reconciliation needs two coming together to work things out. Forgiveness is an inward practice of letting go of the hurt. It is giving up the right to seek revenge. It is handing the offender over to God so that He can deal with him/her. Forgiveness is commanded by God...

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Reconciliation takes two people willing to sit down and work through what has happened. Forgiveness is one of the steps in accomplishing reconciliation, but there is more to it. The two people in the broken relationship need to talk about what happened and the pain that occurred.  It takes rebuilding trust where it has been destroyed. Most importantly, because reconciliation takes two people it is not always possible. There are situations where reconciliation would be unwise. God doesn't require us to reconcile. It is His desire that we do, but peace is not always possible between two people. You are responsible for yourself, but that doesn't always mean the other person will cooperate with you. Think of these situations and why reconciliation might not happen or it would be foolish to consider it.

-There is abuse in the relationship, and the abuser is unrepentant.
-The offender is unrepentant and continues to commit the offense.
-It would not be safe {emotionally or physically} to start the relationship up again.
-Either the offender or the one offended refuse to sit down to talk it through. Or maybe both are unwilling.

God wants us to live in peace with others as much as possible, but there are times when the wounds are so deep that the level of intimacy doesn't go back to what it once was. Once a relationship is destroyed it takes a tremendous amount of effort to bring it back. That is why it is so important that we treat others with grace and loving care, not letting our anger get the best of us.

If you are healing from a broken relationship please realize that you will need to forgive. I say that with all tenderness because I know how hard the process is, but refusing to forgive will only hurt you in the long run. Also, don't beat yourself up if reconciliation isn't possible. Sometimes it is not. Do what you can to mend the relationship and then move forward. In an ideal world, reconciliation would always happen, but we don't live in that type of place right now. Sin creates separation, and at times, that separation can be a long road.

Are you struggling to forgive? Do you need to reconcile with someone? You can read more here at 31 Days of Hope and Healing.

No comments: